Tuesday, 3 November 2015

A framework for thinking about the success of Digital Economies

As promised in a previous post about information symmetry, I’ve now completed my first-draft framework for assessing the success of digital economies. 

Digital education was quite a tough ask as it’s a broad ranging subject. I think it condenses into three topics, though:
  • Higher education, because we’re in an age of discovery and people need to be both intellectually inquisitive and able to learn. My view is that a properly thought out higher education system which emphasises self-study is fundamental to the success of nations. I have major issues with the idea that those who wish to learn should have to pay for that learning excessively as it encourages competition based on perceived rather than real outcomes (why go to a college where it’s harder to get a good grade?)… but I accept that I’m a throwback in this regard and that commercial undergraduate education is here to stay. I don’t care about what subjects are being studied either – it’s simplistic to suggest that STEM topics are more valuable than traditional arts. The Digital Economy is a human-centric one.
  • Creative generalism, since the real skill of this age is being able to look at problems from an objective perspective and then assemble and arrange the right skills to solve it. Hyper-specialism is short-termist as inevitably in the connected global economy specialist skills become commoditised. A culture of collaboration is for life.
  • Digital business practices, which emphasise validated learning and collaboration above MBA-school processes and hierarchy. By ‘business practices’ I include all sectors equally.

So there’s a structure. Now I need to assemble some proper measures. No rest for the wicked.

Monday, 2 November 2015

The curious update of Myspace's dog

For narcissistic reasons I recently looked back on the most popular posts from 5 years of blogging and discovered that amongst the top 3 was this one on the relative sizes and evolution of social networks. Back in 2012 I was trying to make a point about the decline and slight return of MySpace. Looking around has made me realise that consolidated views of active users in this market are actually quite thin on the ground. So here's my read on the performance of key social networks from 2006 to 2015.
Although no one has matched the breakout performance of Facebook in 2007, there are murmurs of hockey sticks from Snapchat and Instagram. Poor old Twitter failed to kick on from 2012, despite looking a bit sticky. Too slow to become a photo stream and too transient to be a publisher, Twitter has struggled a bit for direction in the intervening three years, scoring successes only through Vine.

I hope this brief recap is useful. Rest assured that I remain vigilant for hints of canines in social network annual reports and the subsequent tanking of user numbers.